Gross leaving nonviolence institute to launch Chicago..

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Gross leaving nonviolence institute to launch Chicago..

Postby newportri » Thu Oct 01, 2015 4:01 pm

Many of you have seen Teny Gross at the State House where he has been supporting stricter gun control. There has been a lot of controversy around him and the millions of dollars that his organization and victims of crime has received. Even the police has issues with him and his work he (and his employees) tells these victims of violent crimes to not talk to the police. I think there is more to his departure than this article says and some of the comments are worth reading..
Gross leaving nonviolence institute to launch Chicago initiative

Posted Sep. 30, 2015 at 11:30 PM

Rhode Island is losing an innovative, passionate and compassionate peacemaker — a voice of nonviolence and social justice. After 15 years as founding executive director of the Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence, Teny O. Gross is leaving to start a nonviolence initiative in Chicago.

Gross will keep his house in Cranston but begin working in Chicago in mid-October. Chief operating officer PJ Fox will serve as interim executive director as the institute looks for a permanent successor.

This is a big loss for Little Rhody. Since 2001, Gross has been helping to salvage lives and make our city streets safer, using a group of street workers (including former gang members) who mediate disputes and try to steer teenagers away from gangs. Institute staff members bring the message of nonviolence to street corners, classrooms and prison cells. They work with victims, rushing to emergency rooms, helping families deal with shattered lives. And they help people find the jobs and training they need to turn their lives around.

“My job is not pretty — it’s not sending kids to Harvard, or anything fancy,” Gross said in a 2009 Harvard Magazine article. “It’s about keeping kids in this city alive between the ages of 14 and 23.”

Gross is a former Israeli Army sergeant and Harvard Divinity School graduate who worked in the antiviolence campaign known as the Boston Miracle. In 2000, the Rev. Raymond Malm, Sister Ann Keefe and others at St. Michael the Archangel Church had seen a number of young lives snuffed out, including Jennifer Rivera, a 15-year-old gunned down in front of her house on the day before she was to testify against a murder suspect. So they launched the nonviolence institute and hired Gross as its director in 2001.

Gross set about merging the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophies of nonviolence with the national experiment that began in Boston and that David Kennedy describes in his 2001 book, “Don’t Shoot." It calls for creating partnerships with the police and community groups to identify the small number of people who commit violent crime and deliver the message: If you shoot, we’ll come after you, but if you reject violence, we’ll help you.

Not every city has such an institute. We should be glad we have one here.

The institute operates in a former convent next to St. Michael’s, in the heart of South Providence. “When you work on violence prevention, there is no ‘Mission Accomplished’ day,” Gross said in an interview. “There is a lot of work to be done in Rhode Island.”

But, he said, “There is a solid model here that I am confident the community in Rhode Island will support.” He said the board “is very motivated” and staff members have grown into leadership roles. “You try to build something that’s sustainable,” he said.

Page 2 of 2 - Gross said people involved in nonviolence and private funders, such as the Pritzker Foundation, invited him to Chicago. “We are not coming to save the city of Chicago,” he said. “We are coming to add our take on it — our nonviolence model — to support what is already going on there.”

According to data from Chicago police, there have been 349 murders in the city through Sept. 20, a 21 percent increase over the same period in 2014. And there have been 1,770 shooting incidents, according to Chicago police, a 20 percent increase over a year ago.

Gross said his work at the institute was rewarding. He has received letters from those who had been deeply involved in violence, saying: “Thank you — you planted a seed or you stayed with me when I was not seeing the light.”

“Those are the little victories,” he said.

But the work could also be jarring and draining. “The hardest part, I think, is to see a mother on the floor in a hospital,” grieving for a dead son, Gross said. “Those screams and those shrieks get into your head, and they just never leave. There is also a sense of failure. A death by definition is a failure — a violent death.” And, he said, “There is anger in those moments, when you go home, that our society should care more."

The violence is not someone else's problem, he said, citing medical expenses and prison costs. “Every person in the state of Rhode Island is paying for violence,” he said.

Gross said he struggles to contain his rage when he hears people on Fox News, for instance, characterizing the poor as lazy. That’s not the reality he sees each day. He sees city kids walking miles to school in frigid weather; he sees students who haven’t eaten trying to concentrate in crowded classrooms; he sees resourceful, entrepreneurial people trying to get by amid high unemployment and brutal poverty; and he sees a small minority resorting to violence.

“I sometimes feel in awe of how the poor survive in our society,” he said. “In spite of racism, social inequality and lack of economic opportunities, they continue to struggle but don't give up.”

Amid gangs and violence, low income and high unemployment, the young hear many negative voices, but at the institute, "We just try to pile on the positive voices,” he said.

Rhode Island will miss the voice of Teny Gross. Now others will need to speak up.
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Re: Gross leaving nonviolence institute to launch Chicago..

Postby Uncle Duke » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:06 pm

To the average and uninitiated reader, it would be very easy to allow the pathos of the article to tug at your heart strings and draw you into Mr. Gross' campaign. To readers who are familiar with Mr. Gross' activities or those associated with non-violence and anti-gun organizations, it's not too hard to see this for what it is, sanctimonious self-promoting hyperbole. At the very least the writer for the Providence Journal lost all objectivity and control of the story and allowed them to be manipulated by Mr. Gross.

As a lifetime resident of NE Ohio I have seen similar campaigns in Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and Youngstown. Each has an agenda. They appear on the news, organize safe surrender programs at churches, have turn in gun campaigns, and appear in front of the cameras when the local television stations show up at the site of shootings or at city council meetings to say that they're tired of the violence and taking the city back. While they might engage in some form of intervention with gangs after a gang related incident, they aren't doing any effective interventions to prevent youth from joining the gangs and they aren't addressing the current issues that reflect the cause of most criminal activity. Moreover, they miss the point that the gun isn't the cause of the crime but only one instrument that might be used to commit the crime. More importantly, they can and are used to stop the commission of crimes.
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Re: Gross leaving nonviolence institute to launch Chicago..

Postby RImike » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:32 pm

I wonder who his successor will be, paging Linda Finn.......
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Re: Gross leaving nonviolence institute to launch Chicago..

Postby newportri » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:28 pm

I have a feeling the funding for the organization has dried up so there was no reason for him to stay. If there is no funding, then there might not be another successor..
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